The annual Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation annual charter was created to help people lead healthy and productive lives, and one of the key topics of the document is the importance of education. Although not new, it is a fact that the value of education in human development is still neglected in many countries and this is compounded when we think about women.
Data indicate that 30-year-old men on average have 10 years of education while women are only 9. In the letter, Melinda Gates wrote that “girls’ education, especially, is among the most powerful forces on the planet”, and also stressed that this reflects directly on the financial aspect and, consequently, on the independence of these women.
Another important way to reduce the difference in boys ‘and girls’ incomes is to increase a country’s GDP since studies show that women tend to invest 90% of what they receive in their families while men contribute about 35% of their income.
Educating women also have lasting health effects for generations. According to UNESCO, “ensuring girls remain in school is one of the most effective ways to avoid child marriage and premature birth.”
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization estimates that child deaths could be reduced by half if all women received at least 12 full years of education, and it states that mothers who have had the opportunity to study end up securing better nutrients in their children’s nutrition, and have more knowledge about appropriate health and hygiene practices in childcare.
Of course, living in a patriarchal society, solid education alone does not guarantee equal rights for men and women, but it can be the first step to narrowing differences and securing more and more achievements.